AFL players pay tribute to retiring Hawk Cyril Rioli

Credit: Brett Hemmings, Getty via Zimbio - NOT FOR COMMERCIAL USE

Hawthorn superstar Cyril Rioli is hanging up his footy boots.

The four-time premiership player announced today in Melbourne that he would immediately retire from the game and return home to Darwin.

Rioli, who travelled to the Tiwi Islands last month to spend time with his family, broke the sad news to his teammates at the club this morning.

“The decision to retire from football is something that I have thought long and hard about over the past 12 months,” he said in a statement.

Rioli, 28, had been on personal leave since early June, returning to Darwin due to personal reasons.

Rioli played 189 games and won four premierships with the Hawks since making his debut in 2008.

The Norm Smith medalist said it had been difficult being away from home, but thanked the club, his wife, manager and Hawks fans for their support.

Fellow AFL players and Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson have paid tribute to the star forward.

Well done Cyril. We’ll miss you!

Image Credit: Brett Hemmings, Getty via Zimbio.